Psalm 51: Responding to God

I sit here today, listening to the breeze in the cottonwood outside the kitchen door, loving the sound of the leaves gently rustling against each other; and I am in awe of my Lord. He has once again shown me in unmistakable ways His love and mercy and grace. He has once again lovingly guided me to a lesson I need to learn. To Him alone goes the Glory!

I began writing a post Saturday, after having spent many hours searching out verses on prayer and reading those books on prayer. After having been ‘schooled’ by my Savior on recognizing the sin in my life that was hindering my prayers, I sat down and began putting my thoughts down on ‘paper’ (or this blank white screen as the case may be). I wrote about praying Psalm 139:23&24; but then wondering why my prayers were not being answered.

And then yesterday morning at church the guest speaker talked on Psalm 51. He pointed out that a right relationship with God begins with our realization of God’s righteousness, His love and justice, and our rebellion against Him. He noted that our relationship with God depends on how we respond to what we know about Him and about the sin in our lives. Our response will lead to repentance, that repentance will lead to renewal, restoration and revival.

These thoughts brought about a bit of questioning to my heart as I listened, because all that he was saying was what I had been reading.

How do we respond when God wants us to do something? Are we cheerfully obedient or do we argue back — “Do I have to do that? I don’t want to do that.”

And this is the point where I was struck, because that is what I do, often. That is one of the things that I struggle with, holding back a part of myself from complete surrender because there are things I do not want to do, and I am afraid that the Lord will require it of me.

I am at heart a quiet, reserved person that does not do well in crowded noisy places. If I find myself in a situation that has many people and a good deal of talking and chaos, I find myself turning inward, mentally and emotionally closing myself down and off from what is going on around me.

I have never been outgoing, never willing to talk to people as others do. I have always felt inadequate to a task, always second guessing myself afterwards. Maybe it comes from the way I have been treated off and on during my life – as if I did not matter, as if what I had to say was inconsequential. Maybe it comes from being made fun of for something I said or did that to me did not seem to be something worthy of that treatment; but that, for whatever reason, I was made to feel humiliated afterward. And when the mockery comes from one that is closer to you than most, the hurt is doubly painful.

My family would probably be shocked to find that a good deal of my reserve comes from growing up with four older brothers that, as big brothers often do, make the younger sibling feel less than acceptable. I know they would feel terrible if they realized this, but growing up in a situation like that, even when it was done as childish teasing, it is easy to become withdrawn and reserved.

And, I guess when you repeatedly have others begin to talk right over the top of what you are trying to say, or make a face and out right change the subject while you are trying to talk makes one less and less likely to even open their mouths. You begin to feel as if you are not worth a whole bunch and you just need to stay away from other people and not talk to anyone.

At any rate, I have trouble stepping out into new areas, trying new things, and this keeps me from wanting to get myself into situations where I have to deal with others on a regular basis. I do not like to be boxed in and committed to doing something. I then either don’t want to do it when the time comes, or if it is an ongoing obligation I get half-way through, and want to quit.

I am getting better, but it is still a struggle.

So, I have a tendency to hold myself back, to not give my all completely to the Lord because of my own feelings of inadequacy and fear of shame. I oftentimes argue about not wanting to do something precisely for those reasons.

And He has been showing me that this is a sin that would surely block my prayers, and that He yearns for my complete surrender so that He can work with me and through me.

But now I must tell you …

I have never really thought through all of this, never really put it all clearly into words, never realized that all of this was hiding in my soul until I began writing this. It may have been in the back of my mind all this time, but as I sat here, hitting the keys to create this post, my thoughts veered off of my original plan and took me down this painful path. And as the words came, I could feel a gentle guidance bringing the words out and onto the screen, as if by sharing them I could get passed this.

And, even now, as I am writing this, I can feel His reassuring presence and there is a Loving Voice speaking to my heart saying,

“You are my child. You are beautifully and wonderfully made. I love you with a love everlasting. I chose you from the beginning of the world. Just because others made you feel inadequate, does not mean you are. You can do all things through Me because I will strengthen you. I will be with you. I will never leave you nor forsake you. But apart from Me you can do nothing.”

Praise the Lord!

© Drusilla Mott and https://drusillamott.wordpress.com   2019

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When We Are Born Again

In John 3:3, Jesus says, “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”  In verse 6, He says “That which is born of the flesh is flesh and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.”

When we were born as human babies, we were born into the flesh that Jesus talks about in verse 6.  Human flesh is sinful flesh. When we ask for God’s forgiveness, we are “born again” and God’s Spirit comes to live in us.  This is a Spiritual birth that takes place in our heart.

II Corinthians 5:17 says “Therefore if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature; old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”

Being born again gives us the right to go to the Lord and lean on Him in times of trial and tribulation, to draw on His strength and peace when things seem beyond us.  We that are followers of Jesus have the assurance that if we draw nearer to God, He will draw nearer to us (James 4:8).

This is one of the reasons why we need to not only accept Jesus and trust Him as a child would trust a parent (Matthew 18:3), but we need to grow in our faith through daily Bible study and prayer.  If we have given our lives to Him to use for His will, then we need to learn, and grow, and live that life for the One that died for us.

When we accept that Christ was crucified to pay the penalty for our sins, when we ask Him to live in our heart as our Lord and Savior, we, in effect, crucify our old selves.  Our physical bodies are still alive, but our spiritual being is reborn with Christ and takes on His nature, with new principles and outlooks.

The power of the Holy Spirit changes us in a way that we are incapable of doing ourselves.  We are not strong enough to accomplish this change on our own.  We need the saving grace of God and the strength of the Holy Spirit in us to bring this change into being.  And we need this change in order to see the kingdom of God.

Jesus came to save us, to be the Light shining in the darkness of our sin.  He took the punishment for our sin on Himself so that we might have forgiveness and eternal life (John 3:16-21).

In John 8:12 Jesus said, “I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.”

The sinful person lives in the darkness that comes from a sinful world.  They will hide from the light of Jesus for fear that their sins will be discovered.  But once they accept Christ’s light into their lives, that light overpowers the darkness of sin and shines forth for all the world to see.

© Drusilla Mott and https://drusillamott.wordpress.com, 2011